UPDATE:

Have a look at these Air Quality Monitoring Units we made with SC – AQMD (Southern California Air Quality Management District). AQMD is a California government entity responsible for air quality monitoring and compliance in Los Angeles, Orange County, and the grand majority of Southern California. This write-up shows how your organization can use sensor hubs, industrial sensors like Alphasense air quality sensors, and Valarm Tools Cloud / Tools.Valarm.net to rapidly deploy boxes to remotely monitor just about any air quality factor like:

 

 

 

Quality of life and air quality are important for citizens all around the world, but how do you know what your environment is really like?

UPDATE: Be sure to check out the followup to this write-up on monitoring air quality, particulate matter (PM1, PM2.5, PM10), and specific gases like Ozone (O3) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) with AQMD, the California government agency responsible for air quality monitoring and compliance.

 

The air we breathe every day has volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as methane (from human breath), alcohol (cleaning supplies), formaldehyde (materials for building), ketones (paints), esters (glues), and terpenes (perfume). These are harmful to human health so:

  • How can we find out how much bad air we’re breathing?
  • Are there areas that are better for us to be when we’re outside?
  • If you had the choice of where to go for an outdoor activity, would you choose based on air quality?

I was curious about this so I conducted a study in the Los Angeles, California, area using the Valarm app (or more highly recommended is a GSM sensor hub) and a Yocto-VOC sensor. Valarm compatible sensors are available at Shop.Valarm.net. You can follow these steps and do the same thing in your neighborhood or area of interest to know your outdoor and indoor air quality (IAQ).

For some people the Los Angeles area is notorious for pollution, but LA covers a lot of area so which parts of town are more dangerous for your health? Air quality can be observed to vary dramatically from the west end of the city (where the ocean is) to the east end, where mountains seem to trap pollutants.  There’s also variability from the north to south in air quality (and other health factors). My curiosity about this led to a presentation at the Vespucci Institutes: Synthesizing Population, Health, and Place on Catalina island. The pink dots in the map below show the areas where I collected Valarm VOC data.

ValarmVOCEsriArcGIS1-1

Los Angeles, California, a diverse and sprawling city with dramatic air quality differences between each region. [Esri ArcGIS]

Some residential neighborhoods like El Segundo, California, are surrounded by chemical emitters such as refineries, airports, busy roads and freeways, and sewage treatment plants. Below are a couple pictures of the city of El Segundo taken on a Valarm data collection trip.

ElSegundo2-1 ElSegundo3-1

 

 

To do personal environmental monitoring with Valarm I plugged the Yocto-VOC into an Android device with the Valarm Pro app then placed the sensor in my jacket before I ran and walked around the different neighborhoods.

VOCDataCollection1VOCDataCollection2-1

 

 

I used Valarm’s interval timer to collect data about the environment every 15 seconds. Next the Valarm data was uploaded to the Valarm Tools website where I could see the mobile data acquisition points and view graphs of sensor data.

ValarmVOCPointsSantaMonica

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Santa Monica, California, using Valarm Tools.

 

ValarmSensorDataGraphElSegundo

Graph of Valarm VOC data on the Valarm Tools website.

 

Then I downloaded the VOC and air quality data in KML format from Valarm Tools in order to see it in 3D with Google Earth. [Tutorial here: How To Import Valarm Data Into Google Earth]

ValarmDownloadKMLOptions

Downloading Valarm data in KML format for 3D Visualization in Google Earth.

 

Now I can see the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and their various ppm levels on a 3D globe.

ValarmVOCUSC2-2

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) near University of Southern California (USC) in downtown Los Angeles, California.

ValarmVOCSegundo3-1

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in El Segundo, California. El Segundo is boxed in by a Chevron refinery, LAX airport, sewage treatment plants, and the busy 405 freeway!

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Santa Monica, California.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Santa Monica, California.

ValarmVOCPalmSprings1-1

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Palm Springs, California.

 

And you can do spatial interpolation with GIS analysis methods like inverse distance weighting (IDW) and kriging to create pollution maps.

ValarmVOCEsriArcGIS6-1

Esri ArcGIS with spatial interpolation (inverse distance weighting, IDW) of VOC data gathered by the Valarm app.

Valarm-VOCs-3D-Esri-ArcScene

Valarm mobile sensor data acquisition for analysis with Esri ArcScene and CityEngine.

 

The air quality study shows parts of the Los Angeles, California, area that are potentially more dangerous, your results may vary! As a result of all this I’ll do my running and outdoor exercise in the western part of Los Angeles. This opens up the possibility for crowdsourced air quality measures since anyone can download and share their Valarm data as much as they like! Where in the world are the most dangerous levels of air quality?

Use Tools.Valarm.net for water resources management, environmental monitoring like weather, climate, and wild fire risk, chemical resources management and tank volumes, fluid monitoring.

We can also help you with asset and fleet tracking with trucks, trailers, and and vehicles loaded up with industrial equipment and assets like pumps, tanks, and vacuums, agriculture, and plenty more you’ll see in these Industrial IoT customer stories from industries around the world. How about a Industrial IoT web dashboards for quick and easy remote monitoring and sensor telemetry using any of your devices like phones or tablets?

How will your organization use Valarm?

Please don’t hesitate to Contact Us at Info@Valarm.net if you’ve got any questions!